The first question that comes to mind when hearing a term like ‘StalkerSpace’ must surely be “is that safe?” The mere name holds connotations of spying on others, of seediness and a sort of illegality. It must come as a shock to those when people first join this closed Facebook group that half of the content is La Trobe students complaining about a lack of suitable parking on campus.
It must be said that the La Trobe StalkerSpace is not an official or approved La Trobe channel and that the moderation of content in the group is minimal at best. Despite this, the 21,853 members, at time of writing, have formed a sort of pattern in their posts. Complain about parking, complain about drivers, report lost property, memes, question about La Trobe, memes, actual event at La Trobe for the day. The cycle continues.
It’s also somewhat surprising to find that most of the people in the group are usually genuinely nice to one another. Since when was kindness a part of the internet; especially in a group titled ‘StalkerSpace’? Should someone call for help (“I forgot my money, can I have free food?”), there is generally a kind soul somewhere willing to lend a hand (“Come to here and I’ll buy you something.”). This level of generosity towards strangers isn’t limited to helping each other. Complaints, even rants, get endless comments of support, maybe a suggestion here or there or an anecdote. It must almost be unprecedented for a forum of sorts that has this many people, to be virtually free of flame wars or major arguments.
Of what benefit is there to the common La Trobe student to joining the StalkerSpace? Well stated most simply, this group helps students to know what’s going on. If you have a question, all you need to do is ask it. Someone in the group will know the answer. Someone in your lecture tell you they heard about a fire somewhere? The StalkerSpace can tell you exactly what happened and how. Just after some tips about university life? Where to get the best coffee, where to hang out, what events are going on, all of these are delivered straight to your timeline. It’s almost what you would hope the social media of a university would be like. Informative, topical, a balance of advertising and proper recommendations, and all of this just unmoderated enough to keep interesting and feel real.
The La Trobe StalkerSpace on Facebook is “your guy” that you go to meet at midnight in a raining park when you need something, anything, because you know that your guy can get it. It is something that anyone and everyone at La Trobe would do well to consider.
By James Wallace